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We describe the incidence and practice of prone positioning and determined the association of use of prone positioning with outcomes in invasively ventilated patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a national, multicenter observational study, performed at 22 intensive care units in the Netherlands. Patients were categorized into 4 groups, based on indication for and actual use of prone positioning. The primary outcome was 28-day mortality. Secondary endpoints were 90-day mortality, and ICU and hospital length of stay. In 734 patients, prone positioning was indicated in 60%-the incidence of prone positioning was higher in patients with an indication than in patients without an indication for prone positioning (77 vs. 48%, p = 0.001). Patients were left in the prone position for median 15.0 (10.5-21.0) hours per full calendar day-the duration was longer in patients with an indication than in patients without an indication for prone positioning (16.0 (11.0-23.0) vs. 14.0 (10.0-19.0) hours, p < 0.001). Ventilator settings and ventilation parameters were not different between the four groups, except for FiO2 which was higher in patients having an indication for and actually receiving prone positioning. Our data showed no difference in mortality at day 28 between the 4 groups (HR no indication, no prone vs. no indication, prone vs. indication, no prone vs. indication, prone: 1.05 (0.76-1.45) vs. 0.88 (0.62-1.26) vs. 1.15 (0.80-1.54) vs. 0.96 (0.73-1.26) (p = 0.08)). Factors associated with the use of prone positioning were ARDS severity and FiO2. The findings of this study are that prone positioning is often used in COVID-19 patients, even in patients that have no indication for this intervention. Sessions of prone positioning lasted long. Use of prone positioning may affect outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of clinical medicine

Publication Date





Department of Intensive Care, Amsterdam UMC, Location 'AMC', 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


PRoVENT-Covid Collaborative Group